Ramadan - Aug 11th-Sept 9th, 2010
To start with, I arrived in Morocco during Ramadan, the Muslim holiday celebrated during the 9th month of the Islamic calendar and is meant to teach patience and humility. During this month, Muslims fast during day (dawn until dusk) and break each fast in the evening, after the Maghrib(sunset) prayer, or the 4th call to prayer. This fast is usually broken with Iftar, which consists of special sweets and cookies, harira (delicious Moroccan soup) and dates. Throughout Ramadan Muslims pray, read the Koran, Many families gather together for Iftar. The end of Ramadan is marked by Eid al-Fitr, also known as the lesser Eid.
Lesser EId/Eid Sghir - Sept 10th, 2010/Shawwaal 1
The three day holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan takes place on the first three days of the Islamic month, Shawwaal. People greet each other with 'Eid Mubrak" (Blessed Eid) and eat a small, sweet breakfast to signify that they are not fasting. There is also an eid prayer performed and gathering of family for meals, and children often receive small gifts.
Green March/Eid Al Masssira Al Khadra - Nov 6th
This holiday celebrates the Green March, a strategic mass demonstration in Tarfaya on Nov 6th, Nov 1975 that was organized by the Moroccan government to force Spain to relinquish their claim to the disputed Western Sahara. The Western Sahara continues to be a point of contest today, but that is a story for another time. The color green is meant to symbolize Islam. Numerous flags and banners of the Moroccan flags are hung and children often make related crafts in school.
The Greater Eid/Eid Kbir - Nov 16th, 2010/Dhu al-Hjjah 10
Celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God and God's grace in giving him a lamb to sacrifice in his son's place. To commemorate the act, lambs are traditionally slaughtered and eaten by families who gather on this day. The lamb is separated in to three shares, one for the family, one for relatives, friends, and neighbors, and the final third for the poor. The is also a specific prayer for this Eid. I wasn't with my home stay family for this holiday, as I was traveling in Turkey, which is another story for another time.
Independence Day/Eid Al Istiqulal - Nov 18th
Celebrates Morocco gaining it's independence from France in 1956.
Fatih Muharram - Dec 7th, 2010/Muharram 1
First day of the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Muharram. Public workers receive the day off, as do students. Family usually gathers together for a large meal.
Ashura - Dec 16th, 2010/Muharram 10
Ashura marks the death of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). While this holiday is primarily observed by Shia Muslims, Sunni Muslims (Morocco has a Sunni majority) also observe this holiday, but their observations can be fairly different. On Ashura in Morocco, firecrackers are traditionally lit and some people have bonfires, children traditionally receive small gifts.
New Year's Day - Jan 1st
Proclamation of Independence - Jan 11th
Mawlid ("Birth of Prophet Muhammad") - Feb 26th (Sunni), 2010/Rabi' al-Awwal 12
Labor Day - May 1st
Enthronement - Jul 30th
Oued Ed-Dahab Day - Aug 14th
Revolution of the King and the People - Aug 20th
Youth Day - Aug 21st